From the birth of tragedy to the theater of cruelty, this course explores the creative and critical legacies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Antonin Artaud. Artists and intellectuals both, Friedrich Nietzsche and Antonin Artaud were two of the most influential creative minds of the modern era. Nietzsche, the philosopher of the death of god and the will to power, was also a poet and a composer. One of the most galvanizing actors of his generation, Antonin Artaud was also a poet, a theorist, and a visual artist. But in each case, genius was haunted by madness. Famous and infamous in equal measure, Nietzsche and Artaud effected a decisive influence upon their times and, ultimately, our own. This course will examine their poetry and prose, drawings and recordings, theories and performances in historical context and from contemporary perspectives. Students will respond to these materials through analytic essays and other critical or creative works.